When individuals hear about your nonprofit and want to do more research or donate to your cause, their first stop will typically be your website. But if your website isn’t professionally presented or otherwise lacks the information they’re seeking, they may ultimately leave without taking any further action.
Designing an effective website is essential to drive visitor engagement and convert them into donors. Your website represents who you are as an organization. While this sounds like a lot of pressure to establish an effective design, it’s actually easier than you may think.
With the right tools, you can create a website with little to no design or coding experience and professionally present your cause to your visitors.
Using these tools, you’ll be able to incorporate these effective web design elements:
Create the perfect representation of your nonprofit and start driving donor engagement today. Let’s take a closer look at how you can get started.
1. Easy-to-Navigate Website
Your nonprofit’s website serves as the main point of information for those interested in your organization. For that reason, making it easy to navigate, visually appealing, and informative will keep your visitors there longer.
The simplest way to ensure your website encompasses all of these qualities is to use a content management system (CMS) that allows you to easily design your pages, keep your site up-to-date, and choose from features designed specifically for nonprofits.
When choosing a CMS for your nonprofit, be sure it offers features like:
- Customizable templates. While templates are a great starting point from which to build your pages, make sure they’re customizable so you can make changes to images, colors, and the layout to fit your organization’s needs.
- Live-site editing. With live-site editing, you can edit features on your web pages in real-time, viewing edits exactly as they will appear on the live page. This helps ensure your changes appear exactly as you want them to for your visitors.
- Mobile optimization. When your website is easy to view from a mobile device, this encourages your visitors to stay on your site for longer. Eliminating the frustration that comes with rotating your device and zooming in or out leads to a positive user experience.
Your CMS should make it easy for you to update your website, give it character while still maintaining a professional appearance, and allow visitors view it from a variety of devices. For more information about this, check out Morweb’s essential guide to web development.
2. Compelling Donation Page
While your overall website provides essential information about your organization, one page in particular serves as a way to engage visitors and convert them into donors: your donation page. Particularly during your fundraising campaigns, you’ll want to make online giving easy, but there’s more to it than that.
In order to drive donor engagement and make supporters excited to give to your cause, your donation page should be customized to tell your organization’s story concisely and appeal to your audience. Consider these tips when designing or revamping your donation page:
- Don’t overcrowd the page. Summarize the information your donors need to know about your organization without crowding the page. With less distractions on the page, they’ll be more likely to move through your donation form and complete the giving process.
- Brand the page to your organization's website. Make sure your donation page matches the rest of your website so that your visitors know their donations are going directly to you. Using a CMS with built-in donation pages will allow you to maintain the same logo, images, fonts, and colors as the rest of your pages.
- Make your buttons stand out. Make your suggested donation amounts stand out, as well as your “submit” button, by styling them with bright colors that match your brand.
- Offer multiple giving options. Offer recurring donation options and suggested giving amounts to help donors decide how much to give as well as keep up their engagement in the future.
- Obtain an SSL certificate. A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate helps donors feel safe and assures them that your website is secure to enter their payment information.
Your donation page design matters, so focus on turning it into a driver of donation revenue and a helpful resource for your nonprofit. Your visitors should feel that their information will remain secure throughout the donation process, and your page design should match the rest of your website.
3. Strong Branding
Your efforts to drive donor engagement won’t go far without strong branding. Your organization’s branding across your website will impact your visitors’ first impressions as they explore your content.
Strong branding includes consistency, recognition, and professionalism. Your colors and logo should be consistent across each page, easily recognizable, and professional in appearance.
In addition to these elements, you can do the following to strengthen your branding:
- Capture your visitors’ attention with high-quality images. High-quality images evoke greater emotional responses from individuals than simple text. While you shouldn’t pack too many images onto one page, one to three carefully selected images will be sufficient.
- Define your brand. Determine how your logo should be presented, the color scheme you want to use, and the images you’ll incorporate into your website. Visual identity begins with your website and expands from there.
- Tell your story through images. Telling your nonprofit’s story is one of the most essential parts of driving donor engagement. An effective CMS platform will offer slideshow or gallery features that you can use. This helps evoke emotion with a variety of images and purposefully controls the focus of the viewer.
Keeping your organization on-brand can help you stay connected to your audience, encourage online giving through your website, and keep your supporters engaged in everything you do. Hold onto their attention through engaging visuals and a defined brand that is easy to recognize.
4. Additional Engagement Methods
Your nonprofit’s website should encourage engagement in a variety of ways. There are many additional avenues you can take to encourage visitors to explore your site, engage with your content, and become regular donors.
Try these strategies to keep your visitors engaged on your website:
- Post a calendar of events. Use a calendar to keep your visitors updated on events, as well as campaign dates, volunteer opportunities, and more. Your CMS should make it easy to update your calendar so supporters can access this information.
- Offer ways to keep visitors involved and updated. Beyond your calendar, promote your fundraising events and volunteer opportunities across your website. There are plenty of ideas for fundraisers out there, so be sure to draw attention to them to increase attendance.
- Provide an email list signup. Keep your supporters updated about your progress and upcoming opportunities beyond your website by including a newsletter signup form.
- Offer a volunteer form. Directly encourage supporters to get involved in volunteer opportunities by creating a form through your CMS that they can use to sign up and gain experience working with your nonprofit.
- Add social media widgets and links. Meet your supporters where they are online, spending time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other channels. Interact with and stay connected to them by adding live feeds or links to your social media accounts on your website. Encourage them to like and follow your nonprofit.
Each avenue you take to engage your website visitors can benefit your nonprofit. From gaining more volunteers to offering ways to interact with your cause online, your website serves as representation of what your nonprofit has to offer. For more information on these best practices, explore Morweb’s guide to designing a great nonprofit website.
Your website greets new visitors each day. Give them a compelling reason to engage with your nonprofit, learn about your mission, or make a donation. When you make your website easy to navigate, offer compelling donation pages, define your branding, and provide additional ways to get involved, you can increase the level of engagement with your supporters.
Looking for additional tips? Learn even more about nonprofit web design here and find out how to take your website to the next level!
This blog is an original work of the attributed author and is shared with permission via Foundant Technologies' website for informative purposes only as part of our educational content in the philanthropic sector. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect Foundant's stance on this topic. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to our team.